Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our beloved shop dog and best friend of 13 years over the weekend. It’s never an easy decision, and there is no big dramatic story here. His life ended as quietly and unassuming as it should. He just got old and his back legs aged faster than the rest of him. It’s as simple and heartbreaking as that. Many of you met him just inside our front doors or in the garage workshop as he sniffed your feet, welcoming you in his own way. He lived most of his life his own way as you will see.
This is it right here. This is the photo that melted our hearts and brought Kaz into our lives. Carrie and I were not married yet, living in a small 1 bedroom apartment with nothing much to speak of. We wanted a house in the worst way, but it just wasn’t time yet. We couldn’t afford it, nor were we ready to be homeowners. Carrie said “Let’s get a dog instead of a house.” That’s a stretch, going from a house to a dog. But it was one of the best ideas she’s ever had. And she has had a lot of them, including this business. So we called up Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue and said we want him.
After a nasty fight with heartworms, he was healthy and all ours. We got toys, we got balls, we got all of the dog things a new dog owner is supposed to get. He wanted none of them, NONE of them! That’s when we knew he wasn’t going to be the touchy feely affectionate dog we thought we wanted. Over the years we learned HIS way of showing affection. Not the way we thought it should be, like when he would barely brush his whiskers on your leg as he looked up at you to let you know he was there. HIS way of playing and making us laugh. HIS way of outsmarting us. Often times we think things should fall into a certain box or follow preset expectations. Its just how we are wired, we can’t help it. Once in a while though, someone or something comes into your life that makes you, forces you, to see that life doesn’t exist between boundaries. Life isn’t always black and white. Life isn’t always as you expect it to be. That is what made Kazman special.
I remember our first trip to the dog park. Its going to be epic I thought. He can run and play with other dogs. Be free and be a ‘dog’ finally. Especially after the difficult heartworm treatment he went through. Nope, that just wasn’t him. He sniffed, he ran, but he tested every inch of that fence for a weakness. He was an escape artist at heart. We tried to make him fit this ‘perfect’ mold of a dog, thinking he didn’t know how to be a dog. All the while, he was teaching us that ‘molds’ are restrictive at the very least. They don’t allow you to be yourself; to not worry about what other dogs or people think.
Same thing for boarding him. After a week long vacation and missing he dearly, we expected this grand reunion with uncontrollable tail wags, jumps and licks all over. Nope, just the cool tail wag, casual sniff and that look up as if to say, ‘Let’s go, I’m ready’. It took me a long time to accept that. We all want that grand reunion and we want the over the top reciprocation of love. He did reciprocate his love, but not the way we expected. He did it HIS way. It was in the look he gave as he jumped on the couch as if to say ‘You going to sit with me or what?’ He shared that with us. No one else got to see that. Don’t get me wrong, we have some hilarious stories of him being a dog. With us, with the girls and with the people that came in and out of his life. Like when he stole an entire loaf of garlic bread from the counter and tried to run into his crate with it. It wouldn’t fit through the door and that is the only way I caught him. Or when he tilted the chair onto the counter so he could climb it and get to the bread. Only to hide it in the couch cushions for us to find later. The white tip of his tail flying like a flag as he ran down the street, we were frantically in tow trying to keep up. He once rolled and rubbed his way straight into my shorts on the floor. Then came out to show us how well he did.
To say he was a good dog is not always accurate. By definition, he wasn’t a ‘good dog’. He didn’t lick you uncontrollably, he didn’t jump on you when you came home. He wasn’t a social butterfly at the dog parks. He was a good Kazman though. He was good at being himself. He was good at showing up right when you needed him. He was always there to lend a ear to pull on as stress relief. He was good at bringing calm to the family. He was good at teaching us to be ourselves. He was good at teaching us rather then us teaching him. And for that, I will be forever grateful. Love you buddy…rest easy my friend.